Following on from her well-received debut album, Lionheart (2018), and unlike that very same album, which was recorded in sporadic bouts and fits while she was touring, Eno Axis is firmly rooted in place.
After two years working all over the world as a backup singer in Angel Olsen’s band, McEntire came home to a hundred-year-old farmhouse tucked away in the woods of Durham, North Carolina, right on the Eno River.
Ergo, Eno Axis emerges from this time as the strongest work McEntire has shared yet.
1. 'Hands for the Harvest' (4:17)
2. 'Footman's Coat' (3:43)
3. 'High Rise' (4:50)
4. 'River's Jaw' (4:34)
5. 'One Eye Open' (2:13)
6. 'Final Bow' (4:10)
7. 'True Meridian' (3:35)
8. 'Sunday Morning' (1:41)
9. 'Time, On Fire' (3:07)
10. 'Houses of the Holy' (4:10)
“Early rise, start the fire, till the rows, pass the tithes.” So starts McEntire’s sophomore release, the ornate piano ballad 'Hands for the Harvest' revealing her daily routine from the time spent writing this heartfelt and soulful new album.
Next up is the free flowing majesty of 'Footman's Coat' which is backed by the gently countrified 'High Rise,' the profoundly strong, yet melodically abundant 'River's Jaw,' and then the lushly orchestrated 'One Eye Open.'
One of my own personal favorites is the Americana, summer's day, driving, windows and top down, hair blowing vibe of 'Final Bow, which is followed by the ornately dulcet ballad 'True Meridian,' which in turn is backed by the experimentally organic sounds of the short, but sweet instrumental 'Sunday Morning,' the album coming to a close on the mid-tempo rocker 'Time, On Fire,' and then a quite breathtaking rendition of Led Zeppelin's 'Houses of the Holy.'
In closing, so what exactly is Eno Axis? Simply put, overall, and throughout its ten tracks, it is a set of directions delivered with assurance and authority, reaching the listener without pretension almost as a sermon or spell.
McEntire has always had one foot planted in the traditional country gospel roots of her upbringing while boldly wrestling with its complications, creating an Americana sound of her own.
But that has never rung as true as it does now on the transcendent psalms of Eno Axis.
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